Summary: Best kept secret in the Southern Adirondacks. There are 5 Waterfalls and two eddys. Once across Hamilton Pond Stream it is fishermans paths and Bushwhacking or rock hopping. In early spring one must go along the top of the gorge. Best time is from may through November. At the first falls there is a climb up over some big boulders. Fording both Hamilton Pond Stream and Piseco Outlet mey require getting wet up to the thighs in certain seasons. There is a beautiful camping spot at the forth falls.
I report a "poorly maintained trail" only because it is either rock hopping if the river is low enough, or a good deal of bushwhacking.
Trailhead: North on NY30 to Wells, NY. Left on Algonquin Drive 1.25 miles to West River Road. Left onto West River Road and follow it to the end (7 miles). Park at the lot in Whitehouse. Trail starts at the southwest corner of the parking area between the boulders.
Trail Guides for West Branch Sacandaga Gorge:
Guide To Adirondack Trails Southern Region
by Linda Laing (Linda Laing)
Discovering the Southern Adirondacks
by Barbara mcMartin (Backcountry Publications)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: NYSDEC Forest ranger Mark Kralovic 518 924-7511
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by William Redhawk. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by Bob on 6/30/2007
The bridge is open. At the register, take the right trail and after about a 1/2 mile, take a little trail left which leads you down to a trail alongside a small Hamilton Lake stream, easy to forge today (June 30), which you cross and then hike a small poorly maintained trail along the Sacandaga River. We stopped at the Falls on Cold Brook, a small stream with great falls coming into the Sacandaga. The trail has a very remote feel. My kids really enjoyed the rock hopping over the stream. Bring sandals if you want to go swimming.
Reviewed by dlh on 5/7/2007
Just FYI I hiked up to the 4th falls the weekend of May 5th, 2007 and the bridge had been repaired. For the person who is not sure how to get there, you need to keep going past the now-repaired bridge. The road will eventually end, blocked by large boulders placed across it by DEC - you park there, and hike in on the road for ~1.5-2 miles to reach the trailheads.
Reviewed by Chip on 8/11/2006
I went to the road only to find it is closed. I have camped here every summer. This is my personal favorite. However, it would be very helpful if there exist a site that says when the road will be good to drive again.
Reviewed by KE on 6/24/2006
We just tried to do this hike 6/22/06 and where the road forks we went left? Wasn't sure but we tried left and it ran along the river. After about 4 miles the road was closed due to a damaged bridge. We decided not to continue on. But more details regarding directions etc would have helped.
Reviewed by JimT on 7/11/2005
More of a comment on the reviewers review. We got to the trail that he specified but there is a fork in the path where you need to sign in as it's a part of the Northville-Lake Placid trail. We chose right (flip a coin?) and walked for an hour and only saw a bridge. More info would have helped.
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